For the Record, Op. 224: Eldbjørg Hemsing; Calidore String Quartet; Catalyst Quartet; Mivos Quartet

February 5, 2023, 1:01 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Eldbjørg Hemsing
Violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing. Photo by Gregor Hohenberg.

Eldbjørg Hemsing, violin

Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing's "Arctic" is a musical journey through a stunningly beautiful region and a celebration of a fragile and largely unexplored ecosystem threatened by climate change. It features newly composed music by star composers such as Jacob Shea ("The Blue Planet") and Frode Fjellheim ("Frozen") as well as new arrangements and melodies by Ola Gjeillo, James Newton Howard, Selim Palmgren, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Henning Sommerro, Ole Bull and Edvard Grieg. "The Arctic is often misrepresented as stark and uninhabitable wasteland," Hemsing explains. "Yet it’s a region of matchless beauty abounding in life, one that magically illustrates how all things cohere in fragile cycles. I want this project to show people how magnificent and deserving of protection this landscape is, and to point out the threat of climate change, which affects us all." Read our interview with Eldbjørg here. BELOW: trailer from the album:

Late Quartets of Beethoven
Calidore String Quartet
Jeffrey Myers, violin
Ryan Meehan, violin
Jeremy Berry, viola
Estelle Choi, cello

The three-disc set marks the first installment of the Calidore’s full Beethoven cycle, to be released over the next three years. Violinists Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan, violist Jeremy Berry and cellist Estelle Choi formed the Calidore String Quartet 12 years ago, while students at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. As their first decade of performing together coincided with the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, the chamber ensemble embarked on a tour to perform the complete cycle of the composer’s 16 string quartets in Los Angeles, Toronto, Buffalo and the University of Delaware. "Performing the Beethoven cycle is the musical equivalent of scaling Mount Everest," Meehan said. "It is a grueling nine hours of music comprised of some of the most technically intricate and emotionally demanding music ever conceived, to which we have dedicated much of our studying and performing since the quartet’s inception." BELOW: The Calidore Quartet perform the first movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 127.

Uncovered, Vol. 3: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, George Walker, William Grant Still
Catalyst Quartet
Karla Donehew Perez, violin
Abi Fayette, violin
Paul Laraia, viola
Karlos Rodriguez, cello

The Catalyst Quartet's new album is the third of a multi-volume anthology of string quartet works by historically important Black composers, which aims to bring greater awareness and programming of their music. Volume 3 profiles three American composers who lived through the various Black artistic, political, and social projects that transformed the 20th century; and the deep contradictions that continue to plague the U.S. today: George Walker and his String Quartet No. 1 “Lyric,” Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s String Quartet No. 1 “Calvary,” and William Grant Still’s Lyric Quartet - all works written roughly between 1940 and 1956. BELOW: String Quartet No. 1 "Calvary" by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson: III. Allegro vivace.

Steve Reich: The String Quartets
Mivos Quartet
Olivia De Prato, violin
Maya Bennardo, violin
Victor Lowrie Tafoya, viola
Tyler J. Borden, cello

Between 1988 and 2010, Steve Reich composed three string quartets – "Different Trains," "Triple Quartet" and "WTC 9/11." The Mivos Quartet presents all three works for the first time on one album. Mivos players developed their interpretations of the three quartets in close collaboration with the composer, with Reich himself answering the group’s questions about fine musical details, offering advice on matters of style and endorsing the finished album. BELOW: WTC 9/11 - I. 9/11/01.

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.

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